Kamakura is a popular tourist destination known for its abundance of temples, shrines, shopping opportunities and hiking trails. A mixture of Japanese culture and tourism, this coastal town is accessible by train, car or tour bus and provides something interesting for every travel ambition. The city of Kamakura offers an international assortment of restaurants. Visitors will find both familiar and curious culinary treats including Malasian, Italian, German and local Japanese cuisine.
The 300 meter long street between the Great Buddha (Diabutsu) and Hasedara Temple offers ice cream in exotic flavors including plum, sweet potato and green tea. There are several quick choices for lunch along the main street including bento box gyros at Kabob Kamakura and crepes, coffee and sweets are easy to find, but the most popular treat on the street might be hot pressed octopus.
Tako senbei (octopus cracker) is prepared in front of a line of eager snackers by lightly coating several small octopi in flour and cooking them for a few minutes in a hot press. Fresh octopus crackers can be purchased by inserting coins into a payment kiosk to the right of the cooks. After selecting the number of crackers and depositing the coins, the machine dispenses a ticket which patrons redeem by handing to the next available cook.
Steam rises from the hot press and a warm, exotic, snack is packaged in a white paper sleeve baring a red octopus logo ready to eat.
The flavor of these octopus crackers starts remarkably mellow and almost sweet before the full flavor fills your palette with the saltier octopus flavor. Visually the crackers are quite intriguing with swirls of reds and the octopus suckers are still visible on the cracker surface. Holding the cracker into the light, snackers will notice that the cracker is slightly translucent.
Nutritionally, octopus is low fat, high in iron and a source of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B12, and taurine which is an antioxidant helpful in preventing soreness after exercising.
During your visit to Kamakura, follow the crowd to this unique taste experience. Splurge ¥250 for a tako cracker in between the Great Buddha and Hassedara Temple and enjoy some green tea ice cream or a vending machine purchased beer for an inexpensive and memorable taste of Japan.
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'Life brought me Japan and it is my intention to explore everything Nipon has to offer writting about it along the way.' April Bair is a behaviorist and writer with degrees in Psychology and World Religion. She is a published journalist, master naturalist and hobby linguist who believes that the best way to enjoy life is to experience it. As a mother of two teens, daughter of an international artist, and wife of soldier who grew up in Germany she is always looking for variety and loves to experience things that are a little off beat.